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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fighting child sex slavery in Thailand

Sybil stirs a new awakening

The 'real' Malaysian history would honour people like Sybil Kathigasu who epitomises racial unity.

Come June 12, it will be exactly 63 years since Sybil Kathigasu, the freedom fighter, died.

Most Malaysians know little of her. This is mainly because she, along with many other distinguished non-Malay freedom fighters, have been “buried” and forgotten by the ruling Umno government.
 
Why this is so is another hotly debated matter.
Recent reproaches by the people on the Umno government’s take on Malaysian history, which has erased all acknowledgement of non-Malay freedom fighters, tell of a new awakening in our midst.

This brings the focus to Sybil.
Sybil is the only Malaysian woman to have ever received the distinguished George Medal (GM) for gallantry and bravery. Instituted by the late King George VI, the GM recognises both civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action and brave deeds.

She wrote a book “No Dram of Mercy”, which gives an insightful account of a woman of great courage who should be held as a beacon and role model to all Malaysians.

In the 1940s, Sybil sacrificed a great deal in the fight for freedom of Malaya.
Born on Sept 3, 1899 in Medan, Indonesia, Sybil Medan Daly was a trained nurse and midwife.

Turning point
In 1919 she married Dr Abdon Clement Kathigasu and they were blessed with two daugthers, Olga and Thavam. Later on, the couple adopted a son, William Pillay.

Sybil and Abdon operated a clinic in Brewster Road, now known as Jalan Sultan Idris Shah in Ipoh, Perak, for 14 years before the war descended on them.
Sybil’s warmth, readiness to help and her fluency in Cantonese made her popular with the local Chinese community.

Then came the war and the invasion of Malaya by the Japanese army in 1941.
When the Japanese army occupied Ipoh, Sybil and her family moved away to Papan, a small town fringing Ipoh.

Papan would soon prove to become a turning point in Sybil’s life.
It was here that Sybil began “consolidating” her commitment to helping the local community who were members of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).

Sybil secretly supplied medicines, medical services and information to the underground guerilla forces of the Fifth Independent Regiment of MPAJA freedom fighters who camped in nearby hills and jungles.
She also secretly kept shortwave radio sets and clandestinely listened to BBC broadcasts to keep in touch with the situation around the world, especially in Britain and Europe.

Those acts were, at the time, considered criminal and highly subversive by the military administration of Japan in Malaya.

No betrayal
It has been told and retold by many that Sybil and her husband had treated more than 6,000 guerilla fighters who fought relentlessly for the independence of Malaya.

Eventually Sybil and her husband were caught. The Japanese army arrested them in 1943.
They promised to release Sybil and her husband but on condition that she revealed the names of the MPAJA forces.

But Sybil was adamant and refused to do so.

In fact, she is said to have told the Japanese government that she was “willing to die with my family, then disclose the 30,000 MPAJA and family members who fought for independence of Malaya”.
Sybil was prepared to face the punishment by the Japanese army.

They punished her husband, son and her daughter Thavam, who was then seven years old.
But Sybil, who suffered the anguish of knowing her family’s pain, did not relent.

She refused to betray the MPAJA members and their families. Finally, Sybil was sent to Batu Gajah prison where she was further tortured.

Tortured and tormented
According to her memoir, the Japanese army sprayed soap water into her vagina and forced her to sit for hours on ice cubes and she was not allowed to sleep.
Sybil survived three years of torture and torment under the Japanese army and was only relased after Japan lost the war.

Following her release, Sybil was flown to Britain for medical treatment. It was there that she wrote her now famous memoir, “No Dram of Mercy”.

She went on to write a second book “Face of Courage”, which gave a revealing insight into her family.
But the three years of incessant torture by the Japanese army took its toll on Sybil.

Sybil died on June 12, 1948, in Britain, seven months after she was released from her Batu Gajah prison cell.

Her body was initially buried in Lanark, Scotland, but was later returned to Ipoh and buried at the Roman Catholic cemetery beside St Michael’s Church.

The older generation who are familiar with the Sybil Kathigasu story recalled how her remains arrived in Penang from Scotland by ship and transported to her home in Ipoh’s Brewster Road.
It was one of the largest funeral processions ever seen in Malaysia.

Royal-style sendoff
Sybil, the Malayan heroine, was treated in royal style. Some 100,000 people from all over the country turned up to say goodbye.

Even people from as far as Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo and Indonesia came to pay their respects.
In Ipoh, a road is named after her to commemorate her bravery and Sybil’s shophouse at 74, Main Road, Papan, is now being presevered by Law Siak Hong, the president of the Perak Heritage Society.



In 2008, the Actor Studio’s in Kuala Lumpur produced a play and trained her grand-niece Elaine Daly to play the title role of “Sybil”.

There’s also a Singapore TV drama series titled “The Price of Peace” about her life.
Sybil’s life is perhaps the best example of unity – an Indian women who willingly sacrificed her life for MPAJA members who were mostly Chinese who fought for the independence of Malaya and Malays.

Orang Asli Perak 20 tahun tiada kemudahan asas

Tujuh kawasan perkampungan yang didiami kira-kira 1,000 penduduk orang Asli dtidak mendapat kemudahanan jalan raya, bekalan air dan tenaga elektrik.

PETALING JAYA: Dewan Pemuda PAS Negeri Perak (DPPN Pk) mendakwa kerajaan negeri Perak gagal membela nasib masyarakat orang Asli apabila tiada kemudahan asas di Pos Perwor.

Tujuh kawasan perkampungan yang didiami kira-kira 1,000 penduduk orang Asli di sini masih tidak mendapat kemudahanan jalan raya, bekalan air dan tenaga elektrik walaupun sudah 20 tahun tinggal di kampung itu.

DPPN Pk yang kesal dengan keadaan ini mendakwa ia berpunca daripada kerajaan negeri tidak mengikut lunas-lunas sistem demokrasi Berparlimen dan Raja Berpelembagaan sehingga menyebabkan rakyat terabai.

“DPPN Pk juga merasa sangsi malah kesal terhadap masalah yang bertimpa-timpa datang kepada rakyat tanpa jalan penyelesaian yang cekap oleh pihak kerajaan lantas masalah mereka terpaksa ditanggung sendiri,” kata Ketua DPPN Pk Zawawi Hassan dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

Kuasa rakyat

Zawawi berkata, mengikut pilihanraya umum lalu, Barisan Nasional (BN) Perak bukanlah pemegang tampuk pemerintahan yang sah.

Namun peralihan kuasa pada tahun 2009 berlaku apabila pemerintahan Perak di bawah Pakatan Rakyat ‘dirampas’ BN dan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Pangkor Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir dijadikan sebagai Menteri Besar yang baru.

“Tetapi sebenarnya kuasa rakyat adalah bukti kedaulatan sesebuah pemerintahan. Sekarang sistem demokrasi telah dicabul dengan tidak bermaruah oleh BN dan rakyat yang terpaksa menanggung penderitaan.

“Rukun negara hanya tinggal rukun semata-mata dan tindakan Umno-BN sebagai pemerintah hanya mementingkan kuasa dan kroni mereka sahaja dan bukan berteraskan kebajikan yang sebenarnya,” katanya.

Maicci ‘monopoly’ riles rival groups

The Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry is aiming to earn RM23 million by charging a RM500 'administration fee' to process each new foreign worker application.
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s Cabinet has approved the entry of 45,000 foreign workers from India to fill vacancies in the service, textiles and scrap metal industries.

It is learnt that the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Maicci) has been empowered to bring in these foreign workers.
According to a circular sent out by Maicci to its branches and affiliates throughout the country, the Home Ministry has appointed them as the ‘authorised body to submit direct applications’ for foreign workers in 14 sectors, including textiles, restaurants, hair-dressing, scrap metal and welfare homes.

The letter, a copy of which was faxed to FMT by a disgruntled member, said the chambers would take the responsibility of processing the applications, for foreign workers, from the Indian business community.
The letter also indicated Maicci would charge a RM500 ‘administration and processing’ fee for each application.

Apart from upsetting its grassroot members, the Maicci circular has also irked other business chambers.
These groups have questioned the Home Ministry’s decision to give Maicci monopoly over recruitment of foreign workers.

According to a source from another business chamber, by charging RM500 per application for foreign worker, Maicci will be generating a revenue of RM23 million.

“Why has the Home Ministry appointed Maicci as the sole authority? They should have given a few of us the right to recruit as well,” said the source.

The source urged the Home Ministry to review its decision. He also urged the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission to investigate the RM500 administration fees charged by Maicci.

President says no such deal

Maicci president Kenneth Eswaran, when contacted, however dismissed the allegation saying the business chamber did not deal with any foreign workers in the country.

“Our task is to assist local Indian business community. MAICCI does not deal with foreign workers,” said Eswaran.

The Maicci circular which FMT sighted was dated May 10, 2011 and was issued by the Penang Maicci chapter. It was signed by its secretary R Sarwaisveran Pillai, stating that it was “advised by Maicci that the Home Ministry had authorised the chambers to submit direct applications for foreign workers”.
According to the circular, of the RM500 ‘administration and processing’ fee payable, a payment of RM300 should be made to Maicci and the remaining RM200 to the state chapter.
Each member company is only allowed to apply up to 10 Indian wokers.

Too expensive

Meanwhile on the ground, the RM500 fee has stirred resentment among Maicci members who are demanding to know why they have to pay more.

“How can Maicci charge us RM500 for each new application. It is not legal and also a  burden to us.
“Already we are paying RM1,200 as levy fee a year. With another RM500 for MAICCI, it is impossible for small companies like hair saloon, laundry and cleaning services to survive.

“We are labour intensive businesses,” said a business operator.

Charity starts at home


If we attack the government we are towering Malays, great Malaysians, patriots, and all that crap. But the minute we expose the wrongdoings of the opposition we have been bought, we have turned, we have sold out, we are Trojan horses.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin
Raja Petra, a well known Malaysian blogger, would shock his audience by signing an affidavit implicating the current Prime Minister and his wife in that murder. Raja Petra has since retracted his claim, by saying that he only wrote what he was told. The curious timing of his retraction, coinciding with both the Sarawak elections and the upcoming open court hearing on the Armaris contract in France, has given rise to speculation that he has been turned. – Malaysia Chronicle
*****************************************
I have just finished watching the movie ‘Fair Game’. I suggest you watch it as well. I am not going to spoil it all by telling you the whole story other than it is about how governments lie to us and manipulate us. It is also about how the media is used as a propaganda tool. The most interesting part is the closing scene. Take special note of the speech in that closing scene.

Why do we oppose the Barisan Nasional government? Or at least why do I oppose the Barisan Nasional government? Well, it is because the Barisan Nasional government is exactly like what the US government is as featured in that movie I am talking about. It is manipulative and it lies to us.

So I want to get rid of the Barisan Nasional government. I have said this before and I will say it again: either the Barisan Nasional changes or we have no choice but to change the government. And you and I both know that the Barisan Nasional government is incapable of changing. So we have to change the government. There are no two ways about it.

But we want to change the Barisan Nasional government with a government that is not also manipulative and also lies to us. That is the bottom line.

Now read what Malaysia Chronicle a.k.a. Suara Tian Chua wrote above.

“Raja Petra, a well known Malaysian blogger, would shock his audience by signing an affidavit implicating the current Prime Minister and his wife in that murder.”


Okay, have you read my Statutory Declaration that I signed in 2008? In that SD I alleged that a certain Kolonel Azmi Zainal Abidin alleged that Rosmah Mansor and her ADC and her ADC’s husband were at the scene of the crime the night Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered (three people were named).

Let me repeat that: I alleged that a certain Kolonel Azmi Zainal Abidin alleged that Rosmah Mansor and her ADC and her ADC’s husband were at the scene of the crime the night Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered.

Now, do you see the name Najib Tun Razak mentioned anywhere in that sentence? Read it again. Do you see the name Najib Tun Razak in that sentence?

And did I allege that those three people were there or did I allege that Kolonel Azmi Zainal Abidin made that allegation?

That is point number one.

Point number two is the part that Malaysia Chronicle wrote: “Raja Petra has since retracted his claim, by saying that he only wrote what he was told.”

Did I retract my claim or did I do the opposite: I reiterated my claim?

And did I not state in my 2008 SD that this is what I was told? And I still say this until today. So have I retracted my claim or have I instead reiterated my claim?

So you see, even the opposition manipulates us and lies to us just like Barisan Nasional. And we are trying to kick out Barisan Nasional and change it with another government because it manipulates us and lies to us. But the opposition is not even the government yet and it is already manipulating us and lying to us.

Since last year Malaysia Chronicle a.k.a. Suara Tian Chua has been doing this (long before my TV3 interview). It has been distorting the news and has been lying to us. But when I attack the opposition for acting just like Barisan Nasional they respond by saying that “he has been turned”.

If we attack the government we are towering Malays, great Malaysians, patriots, and all that crap. But the minute we expose the wrongdoings of the opposition we have been bought, we have turned, we have sold out, we are Trojan horses.

As they say, charity starts at home. But then other things start at home as well. If the opposition can’t be honest with us then what hope do we have of seeing change if we kick Barisan Nasional out and replace it with the opposition?

When Malaysia Chronicle attacked me from as far back as last year, I did not accuse Tian Chua of being Trojan horse, or having been bought off, or whatever. I took that as their right to disagree with me. Why can’t they also allow me my democratic right to disagree with them?

Why must I automatically agree with everything that the opposition does? Don’t I also have rights? And is not one of my rights is to agree to disagree? Why is it when I disagree with them then that makes me a traitor or is taken as ‘evidence’ that I have been bought off?

Yesterday, I published the second instalment of the Wikileaks cables on Malaysia. Free Malaysia Today and The Malaysian Insider both picked up the story and made a reference to Malaysia Today. Malaysia Chronicle also picked up the story but made no reference to Malaysia Today.

In short, Malaysia Chronicle stole Malaysia Today’s story. Is this an honest thing to do? It just shows the ‘journalistic standards’ of Malaysia Chronicle.

I am not the opposition. Malaysia Today is not an opposition mouthpiece. But we do propagate a change of government. But we want a better government, a government that does not manipulate us and lie to us. However, if Malaysia Chronicle a.k.a. Suara Tian Chua is the example of the type of new government we are going to get, would you blame the voters for having second thoughts about the opposition?

Malaysia Chronicle a.k.a. Suara Tian Chua and opposition portals of their ilk can continue with these lies and deception if they so wish. They are only hurting themselves. The voters are watching and taking note. And the voters will demonstrate what they think of the opposition come the next general election.

We just can’t whack Barisan Nasional and accuse it of all sorts of things and then act just like them. Do you think the voters are that dumb? We vilify Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, New Straits Times, The Malay Mail, The Star, etc. -- and with just cause, may I add. Then we have Malaysia Chronicle a.k.a. Suara Tian Chua acting just like Utusan Malaysia and the rest of those scumbags and slime-balls, a.k.a the mainstream media.

So where do we go from here? Kick out Barisan Nasional and replace one lump of shit with another lump of shit?

Come on lah Brader Tian Chua. Stop hurting the opposition cause. It is people like you who are making the voters disgusted with the opposition. Why don’t you do us a favour and go join MCA so that we can focus on our work of kicking out Barisan Nasional?

Electricity Tariff Can Go Lower Even Without Gas Subsidy

PRESS RELEASE

I refer to a series of recent statements by government ministers on a possible increase of electricity tariff expected in June 2011.

The issue of electricity tariff in Malaysia is inextricably linked to the lopsided agreements forced onto Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) with the independent power producers (IPPs) especially the first generation IPPs.

The former CEO of TNB, Tan Sri Ani Arope had gone on record to protest the exorbitant electricity price charged by IPPs to TNB. The reported price range of 13.7 sen to 15.5 sen per kWh charged by IPPs to TNB was even higher than TNB’s own generation cost, effectively forcing TNB to buy electricity at a bumper price. The price was also fixed for the duration of the agreement using a higher inflation adjusted price of power in the early years, thus allowing the IPPs to make bigger profits during the early years to recoup their investments at the quickest possible time.

The agreements also shield the IPPs from any risk of fuel (natural gas, diesel and coals) price increase which were passed to TNB to bear. Subsequently, this arrangement has caused PETRONAS to produce and buy natural gas at a much higher market price and sell to TNB/IPPs at a fixed subsidised price. The cost for this gas subsidy has ballooned to an estimated RM22 billion annually (at the current crude oil and natural gas market prices).

The final result of this complex and lopsided arrangements is the relatively disproportionate high electricity tariff paid for by the Malaysian public. The combined costs of higher electricity price charged by IPPs to TNB and the scheme for early repatriation of profits by IPPs had all been passed to the public – either by a direct increase in the electricity tariff or the financial loss from the gas subsidy provided to TNB/IPPs in the name of keeping the tariff low.

Unfortunately, for a country which heavily subsidises the power generation sector by way of cheap natural gas, Malaysia’s electricity tariff is actually higher than Thailand’s whose power producers buy the natural gas at market price (currently three times higher than the subsidised natural gas prices in Malaysia).

A residential consumer in Thailand only pays 18 sen per kWh for the first 150 kWh used; compared to Malaysia’s tariff for equivalent usage of 22 sen per kWh. That is a difference of 22% higher tariff in Malaysia.

Similarly, retail customers under the category of “low voltage commercial tariff” also pay higher tariff in Malaysia compared to the equivalent electricity consumption in Thailand. The tariff is 37 sen per kWh in Malaysia, 48% higher than Thailand’s tariff of 25 sen per kWh for the same category of consumption.

Therefore, it has been my contention all along that the estimated RM22 billion (RM 19 billion, 1999) gas subsidy provided to the IPPs/power generation sector does not reach the intended end users. Instead, it only benefitted the well connected businessmen and cronies over the years and robbed the country of the financial muscle to rein in inflation and expedite the right model of industrialisation and development.

It is in this perspective that I call upon the Federal Government to do justice by reviewing the price of power charged to TNB by the IPPs, including the dismantling of fixed charge elements such as stand-by and fixed capacity charges that had increased the cost of electricity in Malaysia significantly.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
LEADER OF OPPOSITION
23rd MAY 2011

Fighting the likes of Ibrahim Ali and Utusan Malaysia

PERKASA president Datuk Ibrahim Ali‘s call for a “crusade” against Christians who challenge Islam’s position was disturbing, to say the least.  As was the unsubstantiated front-page Utusan Malaysia report that Christian leaders had pledged to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia.
What should be the right response to such hurtful and false speech? Should action be taken against Ibrahim, or should Utusan Malaysia’s printing permit be revoked, as some Pakatan Rakyat politicians have suggested?

(Composite image)
As appealing as it may be to see Ibrahim charged for sedition and Utusan Malaysia shut down for its irresponsible content, I would urge those calling for such actions to think again. For how can we, on the one hand, push for greater freedom of speech, but on the other, call for draconian laws to be used against those who insult us? How would we be different from the Barisan Nasional (BN) government that has frequently wielded these laws to clamp down on free speech?
The right to speak
It has been argued that if one had to choose a paramount freedom among all the fundamental human rights, the freedom of expression would be the most obvious choice. For it is through the freedom of expression that one can speak up to uphold the other freedoms.
In Malaysia, however, the freedom of expression has been seriously curtailed, despite Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guaranteeing every citizen the right to freedom of speech and expression. The list of acts that allow the government to charge, harass and imprison citizens for speaking out is almost endless. Acts such as the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) have often been used in the name of national security and public order to silence government critics.
Almost any discussion of governance and politics could potentially be classified a crime under the widely drafted clauses governing free speech in these acts. The CMA’s section 233, for example, makes it a crime to post comments that are “offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person”. This probably makes us one of the only countries in the world where to annoy someone could land you in prison.
Calling for these overly broad laws to be applied therefore cannot be the answer, despite Ibrahim and Utusan’s hurtful and misleading comments. To do so would entrench the very system that enables the government to silence legitimate and helpful voices in the community.
Talking back
Malaysians have become too accustomed to being told that things are too “sensitive” to be discussed. Perhaps this explains some people’s knee-jerk reaction in asking the government to silence Ibrahim and Utusan when they utter things we do not like to hear.
But in many instances, it would be more helpful to have open discussion and airing of views rather than a government clampdown. Suppressing comment in the name of sensitivity prevents genuine, legitimate views from being made known and helping to clear the air.

Datuk Paul Low
In Utusan’s so-called “Christian state” issue, it was helpful that the organisers of the event in question immediately came forward to deny the blog posts on which the article was based. A statement from Transparency International Malaysia’s president Datuk Paul Low, calling Utusan’s allegations “totally baseless”, was also helpful in clarifying matters. It also helped that newspapers such as theSun front-paged Low’s statement countering Utusan’s front-page report of the two unsubstantiated blog posts.
It is time people exercised their right to talk back when racial or religious slurs or misleading and hurtful statements are made. It is only then that dialogue and discourse can take place, and other Malaysians can be exposed to how different communities think and feel. For how are we to understand one another if we refrain from communicating?
Selective prosecution
Of course, for this to happen, the government must stop clamping down on free speech. It is utterly ironic that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz cited avoidance of “selective prosecution” as a reason not to prosecute Ibrahim. It is precisely the BN government’s practice of selective prosecution that has encouraged the expression of certain hurtful sentiments while suppressing legitimate, though critical, views.
For the sake of political gain, the BN has systematically portrayed itself as the champion of Malay-Muslim views, resulting in an environment where some views are perceived as more equal than others. This could explain why certain groups have become used to clamouring for government action when feeling remotely insulted, while others have to have blatant mistruths published about them before being roused to some grudging retort.
No violence
Is there, then, no place at all for government intervention in the freedom of speech? Yes, there is, but an extremely limited one. The one area where the government should certainly step in is when threats of violence or actual violence are carried out.
In a recent Centre for Independent Journalism and Bar Council forum titled Towards a more ethical media, political scientist Wong Chin Huat said the freedom to offend is part of the price for freedom of speech. “What is not acceptable, however, is physical violence or threats of violence,” he said. “The state has failed to come down on threats of violence. If you remove impunity for violence and threats of violence, then we don’t have to be afraid.”
Wong said if at all, Ibrahim could possibly be investigated for inciting violence, but not for sedition or under the Internal Security Act. “We need to sort out what we want,” he added.
Fighting with our heads
Actor Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in the movie adaptation of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' (1962)
Actor Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in the movie adaptation of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' (1962)
As offensive, misleading and hurtful as some of the things Ibrahim and Utusan have said may have been, I would still advocate that no government action be taken against them. I don’t want to encourage a community where, if every time somebody’s feelings got hurt, someone else could be investigated, charged and jailed.
Instead, we should counter baseless allegations with fact, sense and good arguments. And never respond with threats of violence or actual violence. As Atticus Finch told his daughter Scout in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: “You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ‘em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change.”

Psychologist: Proof of hundreds of rape cases during Libya's war

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) -- In the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Libya the whispers and rumors about rape being used as a tool of war by Moammar Gadhafi's troops are coming from all corners of society, from rebel fighters to doctors and citizens, who have come in contact with families displaced by the conflict.

Now a Libyan psychologist has come forward saying she has case study after case study that proves these rumors and whispers are true.

Psychologist Siham Sergewa has a number of distressing images which she says demonstrates the abuse of alleged victims -- one appears to show a cigarette burn on a woman's breast, another a faded bite mark, while several others show the deep purple hue of nasty bruises.

Sergewa first heard reports of rape from the mother of a patient who called her from the Ajdabiya - a town that was caught in a deadly tug of war on Libya's front line war.

"She was crying and very distressed and she said to me that she had been raped. She was saying lots of women are raped and they wanted to call you," Sergewa said.

The woman then claimed lots of women had been raped and wanted to call Sergewa. More phone calls from other women followed and Sergewa decided she had to do something.

She traveled to refugee camps on the Libyan border with Tunisia and Egypt where thousands of people were seeking refuge from the devastating conflict. With the help of volunteers she began a mental health survey in an effort to identify those needing help.

The questionnaire that was distributed sought all sorts of information such as the names and ages of the respondents and asked whether they were getting enough food. One of the last questions asked whether they had been raped and by whom.

Sergewa says that of the 50,000 questionnaires she got back from men and women, 295 women admitted they had been raped, and all blamed Gadhafi's soldiers.

She said one woman told her "they tie up my husband, they rape me in front of my husband and then they kill my husband," while others wrote their feelings or detail of what happened on the back of the questionnaire in Arabic.

One read: "Forget what is happening to me. The only way is by killing myself. I am so sad."

Sergewa said others recounted stories of gang rape where they would be held for days in abandoned houses where up to 15 men would rape them.

"I'm a psychologist and I've seen lots of things really. But sometimes after I leave some of these families I just sit in my car and cry because it's really so painful," she said.

Sergewa shared her research, complete with pictures and recordings, with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, where prosecutors are currently investigating accusations that the Gadhafi regime has used rape as a tool of war.

The ICC's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told CNN last week that the court has information about women who were stopped at checkpoints and, because they were carrying the flag of the rebels, were taken by police and gang raped.

He also said there were reports of the use of male sexual enhancement drugs, which he called a "tool of massive rape."

"There's some information with Viagra. So, it's like a machete," he said. "It's new. Viagra is a tool of massive rape. So we are investigating. We are not ready to present the case yet, but I hope in the coming month, we'll add charges or review the charges for rapes."

It was not clear whether Moreno-Ocampo used the term "Viagra" as a catch-all for male sexual enhancement drugs in general.

An official with the Gadhafi regime in Tripoli told CNN that "the Libyan government welcomes an investigation into these claims."

So far the only alleged rape victim to go public is Eman al-Obeidy. She received worldwide attention on March 26, when she burst into the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli to tell her story while journalists staying there were having breakfast.

But according to Sergewa, there is a reason why more women have not come forward: Rape in Libyan society is seen as a permanent stain on an entire family's reputation. Rape victims suffer in silence; afraid even to tell husbands or parents for fear they will be abandoned.

Even in al-Obeidy's case her parents proudly announced a man had agreed to marry her in absentia which al-Obeidy agreed to. That is a common reaction by families trying to "save" the reputation of a daughter who is single.

Sergewa said the fear of being unwanted or being abandoned by a husband or parents because of rape has become reality for 20 women she interviewed.

"It is really very distressing story. I feel these girls. She's been twice hurt, one by her family and one by Gadhafi's troop[s]. You know what I mean?"

Eskay close to Thai insurgents, leaked US cable shows

The cable mentioned allegations of Shazryl’s involvement in “controversial business deals in the past.”—file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — A leaked United States diplomatic cable has revealed that Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah was close to veteran Thai separatists hiding out in Malaysia, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’s website reported today.

Shazryl topped newspaper headlines in Malaysia recently for releasing a video purportedly showing Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a prostitute. He also lost a legal suit for RM20 million for commission in the aborted crooked bridge to Singapore.

Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today website recently began collaborating with whistleblowers WikiLeaks and said it has been given access to a cache of US diplomatic cables relating to Malaysia.

In one such 2006 cable, then US embassy political chief Mark Clark was said to have met Shazryl —then the Honorary Thai Consul — in Langkawi on February 5, 2006 and was told details of how the insurgents operated.

“Eskay, who was a leading Malaysian facilitator of the dialogue with Thai insurgents hosted by former prime minister (Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad), argued that the older generation insurgency leaders, mostly resident in Malaysia, remained relevant as they provided needed support services and safe haven to younger leaders.

“He identified only one old guard leader as actively ordering attacks, and estimated that criminal gangs and Thai security services were responsible for 70 per cent of the recent violence,” said the cable.

The cable also said that Shazryl shared a 12-page paper on the insurgency and Thai Malay views, resulting from his interviews with numerous separatist leaders.

“Eskay credibly appeared to have contacts with a large pool of old guard leaders, insurgents, and sympathizers from Thailand’s Malay south. His views on the insurgency were the most detailed we heard during five days of travel in northern Malaysia and tracked well in many respects with information and opinions from others,” the cable read.

It also said that “several Malaysians volunteered they were suspicious of Eskay’s contacts with Malay separatists and alleged Eskay had been involved in controversial business deals in the past.”

After Anwar had denied Shazryl’s sex video allegations, the businessman had challenged the former deputy prime minister to answer “over the past two years, how many times has Anwar been to Thailand?”

“Who greeted Anwar in Thailand? Which hotel did Anwar stay in? What was Anwar doing in the hotel? And who paid for the travel expenses?” Shazryl was quoted as saying by prominent blogger Kickdefella (Syed Azidi Aziz).

Scholarships a Malay special right, says Perkasa

Perkasa said the constitution guarantees Malay students priority in scholarship awards. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Malay rights group Perkasa today dove into the controversy surrounding the unfair distribution of government scholarships, charging that Malay students were the ones who were losing out when it came to receiving scholarships.

Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim claimed many Malay students were being “unfairly” treated by the Public Services Department (PSD) as they failed to obtain financial aid despite being qualified.

The federal constitution, according to Ruslan, ensured that Malays were prioritised when it came to receiving scholarships, adding that no one else could question that “fact.”

“Scholarships are the special rights of Malays under Article 153... The government and PSD must first make sure the rights of Bumiputeras are prioritised, a violation of the constitution in any form is a crime,” Ruslan said in a statement today.

Under Article 153, the special position of the Malays is to be safeguarded through the reservation of, among others, scholarships.

The Perkasa leader also berated the MIC for complaining that qualified Indian students were not given proper financial aid to further their studies, saying that “many more” Malay students were overlooked by the PSD.

“Perkasa can also claim that PSD has been unfair to Malays and Bumiputeras for denying their rights not only for scholarships, but also diplomas... if MIC, MCA wants to make noise about scholarships, Perkasa will remind them that Bumiputeras have yet to receive scholarships,” he said.

Ruslan said that MIC should be “grateful” that Indian students were getting local scholarships, and added that the PSD should abolish overseas scholarships.

“Make overseas scholarships only for post-graduate studies... this can save the outflow of money overseas and give due recognition to local public and private universities in the country,” Ruslan explained.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong revealed last week that 363 straight A+ students failed to secure the scholarships this year although Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed that all students scoring 8A+ and above will receive PSD scholarships after a similar brouhaha last year.

The MCA Youth chief said government officers who disobeyed Cabinet directives were one of the main reasons why top deserving students failed to get scholarships.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has reportedly ordered the PSD to investigate complaints that some SPM top scorers were not offered scholarships. He had, however, stressed that his ministry was not to blame as its list of scholarship candidates had already been forwarded.

The DAP has urged the Cabinet to strip the PSD of its scholarship award role and instead transfer it to Talent Corporation, the agency set up to address the country’s brain-drain problem.

Govt does a U-turn on Puspakom

Instead of ending Puspakom's monopoly, the government changed its mind and renewed its contract for another 15 years.

PETALING JAYA: The government had gone against its own decision made in 2009 to end the Puspakom (Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre) monopoly on vehicle inspection when it extended Puspakom’s contract for another 15 years.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the Cabinet had in 2009 passed a proposal to end Puspakom’s exclusive right and authority to inspect and test motor vehicles after its first 15-year contract was to have expired that same year.

“A proposal to review the contract was put up. The Cabinet was seeking to open up the concession to put an end to Puspakom’s monopoly, ” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

However, the government did not terminate the contract immediately as it took into account Puspakom’s request to consider the large investments it had already made.

The Cabinet finally decided to give Puspakom another five years of exclusive control of the business.

“The ‘monopoly’ was supposed to end in 2014. However, Puspakom would continue to run, but it would have to face competition as others would also be given a chance to bid for the contract,” said the source.

But the decision has somehow been overruled as it was recently reported that Puspakom has renewed the concession for another 15 years (from Sept 1, 2009 to Aug 31, 2024) after the old one expired.

Bernama reported that on Feb 25 Puspakom had filed to Bursa Malaysia its new concession agreement, under which it will pay a pre-determined concession fee to the government as well as a minimum paid-up share capital of RM20 million within the concession period.

It was learnt that at least two companies had indicated interest in providing an alternative service to Puspakom and had bid for the contract then. But they pulled out after Puspakom was given a 15-year renewal.

Exclusive right

Set up in 1994, Puspakom Sdn Bhd, a unit under DRB-Hicom Bhd, was Malaysia’s first national vehicle inspection company. It has 71 branches nationwide performing more than three million inspections annually.

On Sept 1, 1994, the government, then under former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, awarded Puspakom a 15-year concession agreement for the exclusive right to undertake computerised inspection of commercial and private vehicles. It was due to end on Sept 1, 2009.

The source said that in 2007, the then transport minister Chan Kong Choy had agreed to give a 15-year extension, but it was not finalised as the contract had not officially expired.

“In 2008, there were calls for an end to Puspakom’s monopoly,” said the source.

It was reported that on Aug 31, 2008, Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat MPs, as well as NGOs and public transport groups had called for an end to the monopoly.

The then transport minister Ong Tee Keat was quoted as saying that the ministry was considering requests to allow other companies to offer the same services provided by Puspakom.

However, Ong did not say then when a decision would be made.

For years, Puspakom has been plagued by allegations of corruption, mismanagement and lack of quality service.

“To be fair, the government tried to address these various complaints, but had failed as the system was too well entrenched. Puspakom was given a chance to improve its services,” the source said.

ACA swoop

In 2008, Puspakom was in the news when the then Anti-Corruption Agency made a nationwide swoop on its staff.

ACA investigators arrested those who were believed to have accepted money from vehicle owners, charging RM80 for the thumbs-up when inspecting problematic cars and RM400 per vehicle to “pass” a vehicle’s test without it having to be sent to Puspakom.

Reports estimated that these corrupt officials were earning an additional RM1,000 a day or RM55,000 a month “in takings” from vehicles sent to Puspakom.

DRB-Hicom is controlled by powerful tycoon Syed Mokhtar Albukhary. It recently purchased stakes in Pos Malaysia Bhd.

Syed Mokhtar is said to be “the richest Bumiputera corporate figure in Malaysia” and Forbes had in 2010 ranked him as the eighth richest person in Malaysia.

Syed Mokhtar controls the Malaysia Mining Corporation (MMC), which is now involved in a joint venture with Gamuda Bhd on the massive RM36 billion Kuala Lumpur Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

He also has stakes in several ports and airports, the country’s largest independent power producer Malakoff Corporation Bhd, water treatment plants, national rice supplier Bernas and national gas supplier Gas Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Puspakom was unable to comment. Its executive officer Hisham Othman said answers to FMT queries were still being drafted.

Census on welfare homes in Selangor

The recent landslide tragedy prompts the state government to act to ensure all welfare homes are approved by local councils.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Hulu Langat landslides have prompted the Selangor government to act: it will conduct a census on the number of shelter and welfare homes in the state within the next three months.

The move comes after a probe into the two landslides that killed 16 people at the Rumah Anak-anak Yatim dan Anak-anak Hidayah Madrasah Al-Taqwa on Saturday revealed that the orphanage was built without approval from the local authorities.

Dubbed “Ops Selangor Prihatin Masyarakat”, it will fall under the purview of the Selangor Welfare, Women’s Affairs, Science, Technology and Innovation and Culture Committee.

Its chairman, Rodziah Ismail, said that the first step would involve issuing a directive to all local councils and district offices to identify the existence and locations of all such homes in the state.

These include orphanages as well as homes for the elderly, the disabled and single mothers.

“The next step would be to check whether all these homes are abiding by the state government’s regulations, which include owning a licence with a certificate of fitness (CF), a business licence and an operating licence,” she said.

“If we find that there are still homes without any of these required licences, they will be asked to immediately submit their applications.”

Rodziah, the state assemblyman for Batu Tiga, added that the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government would also set up a one-stop centre to coordinate the issuance of licences by the local councils, Registrar of Societies and the Welfare Department before granting approval to the applicants.

“The Selangor government takes people’s safety seriously,” she said. “We urge all parties, be it those who manage these homes or residents of private homes, to ensure the safety of their respective properties to avoid lives from being lost through carelessness.”

Wife cries foul over ISA detainee’s ‘transfer’ to S’pore

My husband is not a militant and I want his name cleared, says his wife.

KUALA LUMPUR: The family of Singaporean businessman, Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad, who was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) early this month, was informed that he has been deported to Singapore to be held under the ISA there.

His wife, Suriati Osman, was informed by the police of the latest development on May 19.

On May 6, several plainclothes policemen from Bukit Aman detained Abdul Majid, 60, at his office in Setiawangsa for allegedly channelling funds and providing logistic support to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a militant group operating in southern Phillippines.

The police also claimed that the businessman had received military training from the militant group in the past.

Speaking at a press conference after handing over a memorandum to Suhakam commissioner Muhammad Shaani Abdullah, the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said he would send a letter to the High Commission of Singapore to confirm the matter.

“Suhakam will also assist us in the matter. In the event it’s true, then we will inform Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,” said Syed Ibrahim.

He added that it was ridiculous that the police claimed that Abdul Majid was financing the militant group as the businessman was facing financial contraints.

“His financial situation was so bad that he is nearing bankruptcy,” said Syed Ibrahim.

Warning to wife

Abdul Majid’s wife, Suriati Othman, 34, said she was earlier told by the police not to highlight her
husband’s arrest to the public.

“They told me not to approach NGOs and journalists, saying whatever I do will affect my husband in detention,” claimed Suriati.

She criticised the police for slandering her husband in the mainstream media by calling him a militant.

“When they arrested him, they told me it was to assist in an investigation but the next day, the Inspector-General of Police (Ismail Omar) told the press that he was a militant.

“They also claimed that he was hiding in this country for four years. It is a lie as he has been here since 1996 and was even allowed to operate businesses here.

“My husband is not a militant and I want his name cleared,” Suriati said, adding that her relatives were avoiding her now believing the false news report.

Meanwhile, Suhakam commissioner Shaani Abdullah said it was irresponsible of the police to deport Abdul Majid without taking him to trial first.

“Even a person who committed an immigration offence will be taken to court for a verdict.

“I will be taking this matter to our meeting tomorrow before speaking to the government,” said Shaani.

Shazryl Eskay Abdullah tells the US that Malaysia is a terrorist safe haven


Even on Malaysian soil, Thai Malay militants did not feel safe from possible assassination or kidnapping.  On at least one occasion, a Thai bounty hunter had bribed local Malaysian police to abduct a separatist who was in Malaysia.  Eskay had intervened to release the target, whom the Malaysian police officer had locked in the trunk of his police car.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 KUALA LUMPUR 000263

SIPDIS
DEPT FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2027
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, PINR, MOPS, ASEC, TH, MY
SUBJECT: HONORARY CONSUL NOTES MALAYSIA AS SAFE HAVEN FOR THAI INSURGENCY, RELEVANCE OF OLD GUARD

REF: A. 06 KUALA LUMPUR 1764 - NO TEARS FOR THAKSIN
     B. 06 KUALA LUMPUR 1976 - SURAYUD'S VISIT

Classified By: Political Section Chief Mark D. Clark for reasons 1.4 (b and d).
Summary
1.  (S) The Honorary Thai Consul in Langkawi, Malaysian businessman Shazryl Eskay Abdullah (protect throughout), described Thai Malay separatist use of Malaysian territory as a safe haven and insurgents' views of the conflict during a February 5 meeting with polchief. 
Eskay, who was a leading Malaysian facilitator of the dialogue with Thai insurgents hosted by former Prime Minister Mahathir, argued that the older generation insurgency leaders, mostly resident in Malaysia, remained relevant as they provided needed support services and safe haven to younger leaders.  He identified only one old guard leader as actively ordering attacks, and estimated that criminal gangs and Thai security services were responsible for 70 percent of the recent violence. 
He said he did not see links yet between the Thai insurgents and regional or international terrorists, but recognized the potential and encouraged the U.S. to keep a close watch.  He also noted, however, that the insurgents received financial assistance via Singapore from unknown sources.  The now-ended peace initiative by Mahathir produced a ten-page "peace proposal" signed by old guard leaders, but which failed to gain much response from Bangkok.  Eskay believed that the February 11-12 visit to Thailand by Prime Minister Abdullah would result in the Malaysian external intelligence organization (MEIO) taking up a "facilitation" role in discussions between Thai intelligence and southern insurgents, though Eskay was pessimistic as to the prospects.
Eskay shared a 12-page paper on the insurgency and Thai Malay views, resulting from his interviews with numerous separatist leaders, which he had submitted to MEIO February. End Summary.
Honorary Consul as Mediator with Separatists
2.  (S) Polchief called on the Honorary Thai Consul in Langkawi, Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, on February 5 as part of a February 5-9 visit to Malaysian states along the border with Thailand (septel).  Eskay, a Malaysian businessman of mixed Malaysian-Thai parentage, described his significant "mediator" role in the 2005-2006 dialogue with Thai Malay insurgents, which featured former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and his frequent interaction with separatists on both sides of the border. 
Eskay said he carried out his work on the Thai insurgency largely independent of the Thai and Malaysian governments, and maintained direct links with most known Malay separatist leaders resident in Malaysia.  To bolster his credentials, he showed polchief video footage he had recorded of various meetings with men he described as elder separatist leaders and younger operators.
Old Guard Not Calling the Shots, but Still Relevant
3.  (S) Eskay noted that most of the older generation of Malay separatist leaders lived in Malaysia with the Malaysian Government's knowledge and acquiescence.  The older generation included those affiliated with the United Pattani Freedom Front (BERSATU), and the constituent groups the National Revolutionary Front (BRN-Congress), the Pattani Mujahiddin Movement (GMP), and the Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO). 
In addition, Eskay confirmed that younger generation separatists, including those involved in recent attacks in southern Thailand, frequently entered Malaysia, particularly when the situation became "too hot" and they required safe haven.  The GOM was not always aware of the identity and travel of younger separatists.  With some exceptions, the older generation did not direct the actions of the younger insurgents.  However, Eskay argued that the relevance of the "old guard" should not be underestimated.
The older leaders, with well-established networks in Malaysia, constituted the support service for the insurgents, providing shelter and transportation, and arranging jobs, including in Thai restaurants and on rubber estates.  Because the older generation provided needed safe haven services, they remained influential and relevant to a potential peace dialogue with Thailand's Malay south.  (Comment:  Many of our other interlocutors dismissed the Mahathir-led dialogue because it focused on the older Malaysia-based separatists who no longer represent the insurgency on the ground.  End Comment.)
The Murky Business of Violence
4.  (S) Like many other Malaysians we interviewed during our trip to northern Malaysia, Eskay described the Malay insurgency as splintered, with operations currently carried out by very small cells, comprised of two or three persons.
"Brokers" would task the cells with orders and money.  Often times the affiliation of the brokers would not be clear to the cells, opening the possibility that they represented other parties, but cells would carry out "orders" nonetheless both for monetary gain and for fear that they otherwise would run afoul of other insurgents.  The cell members generally were technically unsophisticated and the brokers often provided the improvised explosive devices to be planted and detonated by the cells. 
Eskay crudely estimated that Malay separatists accounted for only 30 percent of attacks in the south with Thai army, policy and intelligence agency factions, along with criminal gangs, responsible for the balance. 
Eskay relayed that many insurgent leaders believed deposed Prime Minister Thaksin and Thai Rak Thai party advisor General Chavalit were funding much of the recent violence.  Insurgent members had denied association with New Year's Eve bombings in Bangkok.  They also disassociated themselves from many of the attacks on schools. 
The fracturing of the separatist movement and use of small cells added to the complexity and the difficulty in identifying any leaders for dialogue.  Eskay named only one old guard leader, BRN-Congress Vice President Abdullah bin Idris, as responsible for ordering some of the ongoing attacks in southern Thailand.
Safe Passage
5.  (S) In addition to the Mahathir-led dialogue and frequent informal meetings with Thai separatists, Eskay said he had arranged meetings between Malaysian intelligence and various insurgents operating in Thailand, meetings which included an understanding of safe passage within Malaysia. 
Even on Malaysian soil, Thai Malay militants did not feel safe from possible assassination or kidnapping.  On at least one occasion, a Thai bounty hunter had bribed local Malaysian police to abduct a separatist who was in Malaysia.  Eskay had intervened to release the target, whom the Malaysian police officer had locked in the trunk of his police car.
No International Terror Links...Yet
6.  (S) Eskay stated that he had seen no evidence the Malay separatists had linked up with external terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda or Jemaah Islamiyah.  He noted, however, that some insurgents received funds from a bank in Singapore (NFI), which passed through money changers in the Malaysian border town of Padang Besar, Perlis state.  Eskay did not know the origin of the funds. 
Though there was in his view a clear potential for a link-up with terrorist groups, Eskay commented that Malaysian intelligence did not pay adequate attention to this risk and he encouraged the U.S. to keep a close watch on developments.
February 2006 "Peace Proposal"
7.  (S) The Mahathir-led dialogue had resulted in a "peace proposal" in February 2006, signed by old guard leaders of BERSATU, BRN-Congress, GMP, and PULO, Eskay noted.  This had met with no substantive response from the Thai Government, but might constitute a good starting point for future dialogue.  Eskay provided us with a copy of the ten-page document, which demanded Thai Government actions in eight areas, namely:
-- Improvements in "leadership," through appointment of a Muslim Affairs Minister and a Muslim affairs coordinating body.
-- Improved government communication and networking with Malay Muslim communities.
-- Confidence-building measures, including establishing ethnic Malay quotas for government service and security forces in the south.
-- Steps to promote investment and economic development.
-- Improvements in the education infrastructure.
-- Amnesty, with individual cases approved by a Board of Review.
-- Establishment of a tribunal to investigate and try cases of human rights violations.
-- Establishment of a monitoring committee to ensure implementation of the above steps.
Malaysian External Intelligence May Take the Lead
8.  (S) Eskay said the Mahathir initiative was now over, and the Malaysian Government had made clear that the phase of "NGO involvement" in dialogue with Thai Malay separatists had come to an end.  The February 11-12 visit to Thailand by Prime Minister Abdullah likely would confirm a role for the Malaysian External Intelligence Organization (MEIO) as a "facilitator" for  future informal talks between Malay separatists and Thai Government intelligence.  Eskay supported a Malaysian Government mediation role, but he was pessimistic MEIO and its Thai counterparts would make progress.  Instead, Eskay anticipated continued violence.
The Honorary Thai Consul shared a 12-page "confidential" paper on the insurgency and Thai Malay views, resulting from his interviews with numerous separatist leaders, which he had submitted to MEIO February 1.  Eskay requested that we not share the paper and February 2006 "peace proposal" with others (we have forwarded the documents via classified email to EAP/MTS and Embassy Bangkok).
Comment
9.  (S) Eskay credibly appeared to have contacts with a large pool of old guard leaders, insurgents, and sympathizers from Thailand's Malay south.  His views on the insurgency were the most detailed we heard during five days of travel in northern Malaysia and tracked well in many respects with information and opinions from others.  His belief in the usefulness of engaging the old guard, however, contradicted the opinion of Malaysian politicians, officials and police who generally dismissed the old timers as irrelevant.  Several Malaysians volunteered they were suspicious of Eskay's contacts with Malay separatists and alleged Eskay had been involved in controversial business deals in the past (unrelated to Thailand).  Eskay informed us that he had lived some ten years in the United States circa the 1980s.
LAFLEUR

Ethnic Indian appointed as Singapore Army Chief

By Krishna Singh
7th Rangers (Mechanized)


Singapore: The appointment of Brigadier-General Ravinder Singh, a Sikh, as the next chief of the Singapore Army is the culmination of a long tradition of the community serving in uniform, both as policemen and in the armed forces, in the city-state.

Their role in Singapore belies their small number: There are only an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 Sikhs in Singapore, a nation of five million people. Their number is small even when compared to 100,000 Sikhs living in Malaysia. Sikhs came to this part of Southeast Asia as soldiers and policemen during the British era.

Brig. Gen. Singh will replace Major-General Chan Chun Sing as army chief March 25.

Singh, 46, currently deputy secretary (technology) in the defence ministry, was previously commanding officer, 3rd Signal Battalion; commander, 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade and assistant chief of general staff (plans); head joint communications and information systems department.

He has also held the posts of head joint plans and transformation department; commander 6th Division and chief of staff – joint staff. Singh holds a Master of Arts (Engineering Science) from the University of Oxford, Britain. He also holds a Master of Science (Management of Technology) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US.

He joined the Singapore Armed Forces in December 1982. Brig Gen Singh is also the first non-Chinese Chief of Army in nearly 30 years. Colonel Mancharan Singh Gill was the first ever when he took up the post in 1982, the report said.

Hat tip: Colonel Mike Nasir via e-mail. Note: This will never happen in UMNO/BN led Bolehland, as discrimination against minorities is policy.

Pemimpin Islam persoal kesetiaan bukan Muslim, mahu hak dikaji semula

Oleh Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Mei – Beberapa pemimpin Islam mempersoalkan kesetiaan bukan Islam di negara ini sambil menggesa hak komuniti itu perlu dinilai semula jika Malaysia benar-benar dianggap sebagai negara Islam.

Bekas Yang Dipertua Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) Datuk Nakhaie Ahmad (gambar) berkata, layanan kepada bukan Muslim seharusnya berdasarkan pada kontrak sosial yang telah dipersetujui.

Malah kata beliau kerajaan nampak terlalu bermurah hati kepada kaum-kaum bukan Islam.

“Dalam usaha untuk mendapatkan undi dan sokongan bukan Muslim, kita begitu bermurah hati dalam memberikan hak-hak sivil.

“Hak-hak sivil yang diberikan termasuk hak untuk mengundi, penyertaan dalam politik, memegang jawatan, pembabitan dalam ketenteraan dan sebagainya, tetapi kita memberikan mereka segala-galanya,” kata beliau.

Oleh itu, kata beliau, tawaran hak kepada bukan Islam seharusnya berdasarkan amalan-amalan agama Islam.

Nakhaie menekankan bahawa bukan Muslim yang melanggar kontrak sosial mesti dibuang negara.

Justeru beliau meminta kerajaan mengambil pendekatan tegas untuk menjaga kepentingan Muslim negara ini.

"Jika mereka melanggar perjanjian kita, maka mereka adalah musuh kita dan mesti dibuang dari negara ini," katanya.

"Kita tidak harus kompromi dengan mereka. Kita mesti tegas dengan mereka apabila menyentuh kontrak sosial yang dipersetujui," katanya lagi.

Malah kata beliau, adalah penting jawatan tinggi kerajaan tidak diberikan kepada bukan Muslim demi kepentingan negara.

“Kita tidak boleh beri jawatan penting kerajaan kepada bukan Muslim memandangkan bukan Islam tidak boleh menjadi menteri di negara Islam. Ketua tentera juga tidak boleh diberikan kepada bukan Muslim.

"Tanpa memikirkan mengenai masa depan negara kita, kita memberikan mereka semua," katanya sambil menambah tindakan memberikan hak sivil mesti diseimbangkan dengan amalan Islam agar faham keadilan dalam Islam dan sistem Islam.

Dalam pada itu, timbalan presiden Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) Zamri Hashim pula berkata Muslim sewajarnya melihat menjangkaui afiliasi politik demi matlamat perjuangan yang lebih besar.

“Kita mesti melihat di luar (ruang) politik. Agenda Melayu sangat penting untuk (kita) tidak boleh tidak ambil peduli dan majoriti Melayu adalah Muslim. Bukan lagi tentang PAS dan Umno,” kata timbalan mufti Perak ini.

Timbalan presiden Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia Dr Mohd Rumaizuddin Ghazali juga menekankan bahawa Malaysia tidak harus menjadi negara sekular.

“Ini kerana ramai ahli politik bukan Muslim mahu mengisytiharkan negara ini sebagai negara sekular, maka kerajaan tidak perlu membiayai program agama.

“Mereka bimbang bahawa jika kita terima Malaysia sebagai negara Islam maka ada banyak implikasi, bermakna hanya Muslim yang ada hak untuk menerajui negara ini,” katanya.

Mohd Rumaizuddin menambah orang Melayu diinjak-injak manakala bukan Muslim pula mengambil kesempatan ke atas mereka.

“Disebabkan politik, kita masih belum bebas selepas lebih 50 tahun negara merdeka,” katanya.

Presiden Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia Abdul Hakim Othman menambah perlembagaan negara mesti digantikan kerana ia digunal oleh penjajah British.